iPhoto for iOS ditches Google Maps display tiles, uses custom tiles based on OpenStreetMaps

iPhoto for iOS ditches Google Maps display tiles, uses custom tiles based on OpenStreetMaps

It looks like Apple's new iPhoto for iOS app isn't pulling data from the tradition source, Google Maps, but is using custom Apple made tiles informed by OpenStreetMaps. 512 Pixels' Stephen Hackett noticed the difference almost immediately, as did The Next Web's Matthew Panzarino. OpenStreetMap later confirmed it on their own blog:

Yesterday Apple launched iPhoto, its photo management app, for the iPad and iPhone… and we’re rather pleased to find they’re the latest to switch to OpenStreetMap. [...] The new iPhoto for iOS, however, uses Apple’s own map tiles – made from OpenStreetMap data (outside the US).

The OSM data that Apple is using is rather old (start of April 2010) so don’t expect to see your latest and greatest updates on there. It’s also missing the necessary credit to OpenStreetMap’s contributors; we look forward to working with Apple to get that on there.

Given the strains in the Apple/Google relationship as of late, it's really shocking to see them putting something like this together.

Apple has also acquired numerous mapping solution companies such as PlaceBase, Google Earth competitor Poly9 along with a 3D mapping company called C3 Technologies, so it's not hard to imagine we'll see more custom maps from Apple in the future.

Source: 512 Pixels, TNW, OpenStreetMap

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Chris Parsons

Editor-at-Large at Mobile Nations, gadget junkie, energy drinker, ranter.

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Reader comments

iPhoto for iOS ditches Google Maps display tiles, uses custom tiles based on OpenStreetMaps


I'm really happy about this. I have been contributing to OpenStreetMap for years so it is nice to see major companies and websites using it. First Foursquare and Geocaching, and now Apple, despite the data being nearly 2 years old. That aspect is interesting, as data files from OSM are updated every 24 hours and the website itself instantly.

Lost in the shuffle is the fact Apple was using Open Street Maps without attribution, in direct violation of OSM's license. The article quotes OSM noting the issue, saying that they "look forward to working with Apple" to get attributions in place.
But it is odd, to say the least, that a company that spends so much time and energy defending its own concept of intellectual property rights would be so dismissive with those of others.

Yeah -- based on the known acquisitions, it's pretty guaranteed that Apple will have a maps solution. I hope it also incorporates voice turn-by-turn like Android. That is one feature I do (well...did, until I got my new 2012 vehicle) miss. It would be nice to see this implemented in iOS6 or sooner.

Agree with Obsidian71 and Ryan. We expect iOS 6 to have vastly improved mapping features. Using OSM is probably just an interim test, in an app that doesn't need up-to-the-minute maps.

thats kool. could be due to the large fee that google is going to start charging the top .35 users of google maps.

I'd let you readers know that this probably had nothing to do with the Google/Apple conflict so many think there are. Google announced they were going to charge for companies that use the most data. I'm sure Apple is very close to the top.
Foursquare and many other companies also changed from Google to OSM.

Gorgeous gorgeous and more gorgeous. But I mean c'mon, with a dream team like Elizabeth and Mindy I'd expect nothing less!

hey there, I haven't much talked to you on the skype in a while, but I guessed I should message you from my newer Notebook!! No fun, I work for a brand new company now in the revision dept. You should not tell everybody but we uncovered this site that is absolutely glitching and distributing out zero cost Android !! to everybody that signs up. I believe you will probably have to confirm your e-mail, xox %name%

I'm sorry, but it doesn't sound that complex to record Stephen's voice as it is, then analyse the frequencies with a frequency analyzer and then program a modern voice synthesizer to reproduce those frequencies.